All posts filed under “Diet

diet and nutrition tips and challenges

Do you feel like you have tried every diet out there and failed? Well I am about to change your life, enter intuitive eating.
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Tired of dieting? Try Intuitive Eating

Do you feel like you have tried every diet out there and failed? Well I am about to change your life, enter intuitive eating. In this new approach, you can eat whatever your body craves (even that cheeseburger and fries!). The catch – you must learn to eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Seems to be that with this diet filled world, many of us have forgotten how to just…eat.

Do not be mistaken, this is not a diet. It is considered a non-diet, weight-neutral approach. The focus is on total health and well-being, rather than weight loss. You might even be amazed that your body actually craves healthy foods once it’s not thought of as a punishment.

If any of this resonates with you, check out the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating as summarized below:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality – Throw out your diet books an magazine articles.
  2. Honor Your Hunger – When you are hungry, eat.
  3. Make Peace with Food – Give yourself unconditional permission to eat any food.
  4. Challenge the Food Police – Throw out terms like good food and bad food.
  5. Respect Your Fullness – Listen to your body and stop when you are full.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – Food is pleasurable! Enjoy it.
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food – Food won’t fix any of your feelings.
  8. Respect Your Body – Love the body that you have right now.
  9. Exercise-Feel the Difference – Learn how much better your body feels with movement.
  10. Honor Your Health – Balance your tastebuds while making you feel well. You don’t have to eat perfect to be healthy.

As you can see, a major component of this program is acceptance. Making peace with yourself and your body, learning to not use on food for emotional support, etc. This little graphic says so much.

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For more information on intuitive eating check out the book that made it famous, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by reynermedia

bento lunch
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Lunch is served

There are two camps of thought; 1) a brown bag lunch from home is healthier than cafeteria food, 2) changes in cafeteria food make it healthier than what Mom’s packs from home.  There are many internet articles to support both claims but ultimately you’re going to do what’s best for you and your kids.

Today, we’ll focus on lunch from home.  How can we pack a lunch for ourselves and our kids that is nutritious, fun, and not boring? Let’s face it, what’s good for our kids is also good for us.   Let’s focus on moving away from a basic sandwich, chips, carrots, and cookie.  Let’s talk “bento-esque” lunches.

Small portions of a variety of interesting lunch items will keep your kids interested in lunch and avoid the “swap” of something they don’t like.  How about a small meat/cheese roll up, gold fish crackers, kiwi and berries, with a chocolate pudding?  There are so many options for lunches but they key is to keep the portions in check and make it fun, colorful, tasty, and healthy.   Parents.com has a large list of bento style lunch ideas.   There are also lots of idea on Pinterest if you search “bento lunches”.  Don’t get hung up on the fancy bento dishes/containers, you can just as easily use baggies or individual plastic/glass storage containers from home.

If your family chooses lunches from the school cafeteria, try supplementing with additional fruit or veggies.  It’s fun to see what school lunches look like in other countries.  America certainly has room for improvement in many of our schools.   And kudos to those schools that are serving nutritious and good food to our kids.

Start gearing up for school and get a plan of action.  Lunch can and should be fun.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Melissa

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5 tips to eat more fruits and veggies

Did you know that produce is good for you? WHAT. Stop. Cue the sarcasm. Everyone knows fruits and veggies are great…but why aren’t we eating them?

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention did a study and learned that less than 15% of adults in the U.S. eat their recommended servings of fruits. Less than 9% got their veggies!!! In fact, in Oregon they found adults ate a veggie less than 2 times per day (on average).

Let’s start with what’s recommended.

1) Fruits- if you engage in 30 minutes or less of moderate activity each day, plan on eating between 1.5-2 cups of fruit each day.

2) Veggies – if you engage in 30 minutes or less of moderate activity each day, plan on eating between 2-3 cups of vegetables each day.

Typically folks like fruits better than veggies. And some hate certain veggies with an all-consuming fire. However, there’s a lot of good recipes out there – why not give some of these tips a try?

Tip #1 – roast veggies on your grill

Veggies are surprisingly delicious when drizzled with a little olive oil and grilled. It’s minimal work, and tasty results! This is a great option for summer.

Tip #2 – smoothies

Green smoothies – so hot right now. Sounds funky…looks weird… but tasty! When you make a “green smoothie” the fruit dominates the taste, so you get the benefit of spinach or other nutrient dense veggies, with the taste of berries instead! Sample recipes found here.

Tip #3 – be sneaky

Chances are you have picky eaters in your home – maybe it’s you! Sneak in some grated zucchini and carrots into your turkey burgers or meatballs. Add chopped mushrooms, onions, squash and peppers to a pasta sauce or stew. Be creative!

Tip #4 – enjoy a salad

Not all salads are created equal – and they certainly don’t have to be boring! If you enjoy Mexican food – try combining spinach/lettuce + bell peppers + tomatoes + salsa & a protein of your choice. Maybe add in some avocado for some healthy fats too!

Tip # 5 – breakfast goodness

If you like savory foods in the morning – sneak some veggies into your egg or tofu scrambles! Peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions go great in scrambles.

If you prefer sweets in the morning – add some berries to nonfat plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Try an overnights oats recipe that has added benefits of yummy fruits found here.

There’s lots of fresh options right now with all the local farmer’s markets. If you can’t break away from the desk during the work week…guess what?! You’re not off the hook. Portland has wonderful organizations including A Couple of Fruits that deliver a wonderful selection of produce right to you!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Christer Barregren

Beers
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Nip stress-related drinking in the bud

Do you ever drink alcohol because you feel stressed? Studies show that many people do.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to many health problems, such as increased risk of heart and liver diseases. It can cause nasty hangovers or even alcohol poisoning.

If you are drinking too much, you can get on a healthier path by:

  • Cutting back or quitting
  • Keeping track of how much you drink
  • Avoiding places where too much drinking occurs
  • Finding other ways to deal with stress

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Join us and other organizations in your community to spread the word to help prevent alcohol abuse.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Lindsey G

 

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achoo
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Don’t say “achoo” because you can beat the cold and flu!

It is the time of year when everyone is starting to catch a cold, or is recovering from one. I am somewhat of a germaphobe, so being in the office this time of year makes my germ senses go off the radar.

How do I get over my germ phobia? First of all, I try not to think about it too much and I definitely don’t go anywhere without my hand sanitizer! Some other things that I make sure to do are:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get enough Zzz’s
  • Get my flu shot
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Wash my hands constantly (and then apply hand sanitizer)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Wish on my lucky stars that I don’t get the cold or flu!

This has been a good strategy for me the last few years and I have not had the flu while using this method (knocking on wood now). I hope these simple little tips will also help you fend off the cold and flu this season!

Do you have any methods to avoid the cold and flu this season? This germaphobe would appreciate any tips and tricks to staying healthy all the way through the holidays!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Allan Foster

fresh fall fruits and veggies
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Fresh for Fall Challenge

Fall is a great time to think about  your eating habits and what you can do to make them a little healthier. Choosing fresh fruits and veggies can be a small step in making healthier choices, especially with all the holiday meals coming up!

There is no lack of fresh fall fruits or veggies that you can use. Challenge yourself to cook at least one meal this week with fresh fall fruits and veggies! In case you are at a loss of fresh produce options for fall, here are some options:

*Cauliflower                                                        *Apples

*Sweet Potatoes                                               *Pomegranate

*Pumpkin                                                               *Squash

If you want some healthy cooking ideas, check out Meals That Heal for recipes like candied sweet potato apples!

Candied Sweet Potato Apples

Do you have a recipe you like that uses one of these fresh fall fruits and veggies? Share it with me below!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Faith Goble

stop diabetes
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Stop type-2 diabetes today

Are you at risk for type-2 diabetes? Take an easy test from the American Diabetes Association HERE.  After you finish the test, you will get information about what steps you can take next.

With obesity rates climbing, the number of Americans with prediabetes and type-2 diabetes is climbing too.

Being over-weight increases your chance of having type-2 diabetes. The good news, prediabetes is reversible when you choose to take action and make healthy choices. For a healthier lifestyle try to:

  • Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats and sugar
  • Get active- even a little exercise can make a big impact
  • Maintain a healthy weight- see the pounds drop as well as your blood pressure and sugar
  • Kick the tobacco habit- quitting helps lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease
  • Check in with your doctor to get the right medications to help you take control of your diabetes

Knowing your risks can help you make healthy choices. What are some ways you are living healthy? Leave a comment and let us know!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Robert Fornal

halloween
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Have a happy and healthy Halloween

Last Halloween we wrote about fun and healthy alternatives to give to trick-or-treaters. This year, I have a few more fun ideas to add to the list.  Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about all you candy lovers out there. I have some tips to follow for healthier sweets.

In the past, my family has opted for Milky Ways and Kit-Kat bars for treats. This Halloween we are  trying something new by switching sugary sweets for toys. A few of my families’ giveaways are going to be:

  • Bubbles
  • Glow sticks/necklaces
  • Play Dough

The glow sticks are not only fun to wear, they help others see the kids in the dark.

Now for the sweet part…candy!

Not all candy is created equal and you can have healthier options for treats without the kids even noticing! Some healthier options for Halloween treats are:

  • Swap dark chocolate for milk chocolate
  • Give mini versions of your favorite sweets instead of ‘King’ size candy bars
  • Sugar free gum or mints

Now you’re ready for a happy and healthy Halloween! Feel free to share some of your favorite goodies with me below.

caption-arrow  Feature photo byEmbajada de los Estados

small win
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Don’t forget to celebrate the small things

Setting long-term goals are great, but what about the small wins that get you to achieve those long-term ones?

I know that I can get caught up in achieving the big win – like losing weight by a certain date or traveling around the world. But don’t forget to celebrate the small wins that help you reach your ultimate goals.

These can be anything from:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Drinking water instead of a soda for lunch
  • Working an extra day to save up for that around the world vacation
  • Eating an apple instead of cookie for a snack
  • Running an extra 5 minutes to burn more calories

Celebrating the small wins can spark your excitement for getting to your end goals. So give yourself a high-five, or buy new workout clothes to help celebrate the small things that you have done!

What are some small wins that you have accomplished lately?

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green veg champion
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Become a green veggie champion

Getting my veggies in for the day always has been a struggle, and so when I get a salad, I feel like a green veggie champion. What I mean by a green veggie champion is that I feel like I am putting something healthy into my body.

Unfortunately, not all salads are created equal and can sneak up on you with added calories and fat.  In fact, many fast food and restaurant salads have more fat and calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac.

To give you a baseline, a Big Mac has about 550 calories  and 10 grams of saturated fat (the kind you don’t want in your diet).

Some of your favorite salads like the Cobb, chicken Caesar, and taco salads can have more than 1,000 calories and varying range of saturated fat. What makes these salads pack on the calories and fat? Toppings and dressing.

Some toppings that you should lighten up on are croutons, bacon, cheese and sunflower seeds.

Options to load up on are tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers.

Dressings can be tricky, so try not to poor on the dressing. Instead,  try dipping your fork in the dressing before taking a bite.

You can make your salad as healthy or unhealthy as you choose.  Be a green veggie champion by adding as many healthy toppings as you can!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Garen Meguerian